Tiamzons claim captors took P1.5M from them | Inquirer News

Tiamzons claim captors took P1.5M from them

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 08:40 AM April 10, 2014

Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army chief Benito Tiamzon (left) and his wife, Wilma (right). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Captured communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, claimed military and police personnel made off with some P1.5 million in cash intended for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda when they were arrested in Cebu last month.

Edre Olalia, one of the couple’s lawyers, said the Tiamzons told their legal counsels they were carrying the amount as cash donation for the survivors of the super typhoon, which ravaged large swathes of the Visayas region five months ago.


“The couple and their five companions said they were in possession of that money. Until now, the military and the police have yet to return the money to them,” Olalia told the Inquirer over the phone.


Asked why the Tiamzons raised the issue only now, he said: “We actually mentioned before that they had some cash when they were arrested… But it’s only until recently that they were able to talk to each other and account how much they were really carrying when they were arrested,” he said.

Olalia said he was not sure if members of the Philippine Army and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) included the money in the inventory of items seized from the Tiamzons and their five companions.

“That’s why we are challenging the military and the police to make public the inventory of the seized items because it would show that they did not recover any guns or explosives from the Tiamzons,” he said.

Sought for comment, CIDG director Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong said he was not aware that a huge sum was taken from the Tiamzons at the time of their arrest on March 22.

“I have no information about it. But I will have it checked,” Magalong said in a mobile phone interview.

Tiamzon, 63, is believed to be the chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging one of the longest-running Maoist rebellions in the world.


His wife, Wilma, is said to be communist group’s secretary general and former head of its finance committee.

Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, said the Tiamzons also disclosed the missing “cash donation” in a handwritten message sent to them during a forum on the peace process between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF).

In a message written in Filipino, the couple said “South Mindanao”—apparently referring to NDF-allied groups in the region—sent P1-million cash for typhoon victims.

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They claimed another P500,000 for their “operations and medical budget” was also taken from them by the soldiers and policemen who arrested them.

TAGS: Military, Philippines, Police, Tiamzons, Wilma Tiamzon

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